Olympian Natalie Hinds Will Join Cali Condors

Natalie Hinds will join the Cali Condors for the last two matches of the 2021 ISL season, she told SwimSwam this week. That means she’ll attend the team’s September 11-12 match and their September 16-17 match before they have an off week to conclude the regular season.

Hinds is arriving late because she is participating in this weekend’s LEAD Summit in Denver, Colorado. She said that the Summit, which is produced for female athletes and features a number of Olympic swimmers, is important to her, so she’s going to leave for Italy and the ISL immediately after its conclusion Monday.

Hinds was one of the 15 swimmers that the Condors elected to retain from their 2020 roster. Hinds finished tied for 120th in last season’s regular season MVP standings and jumped into the top 100 after the semi-finals and finals matches.

She struggled in the final individually, finishing 8th in the 50 free and 100 free, including having her points Jackpotted in the 50. She also swam on three Condors relays.

The return of Hinds next week and Olivia Smoliga will help shore up one of the few weaknesses for a Condors team that showed overwhelming dominance in their first match last season. They cleared the field by more than 300 points, but they scored just 13 points across the women’s 50 and 100 freestyles.

They still managed to cobble together the 2nd and 3rd place 400 free relays in the meet, thanks in large part to very week sprint groups from the Breakers and Tokyo, but both Maaike de Waard in the 50 and Marie Pietruschka in the 100 had their points Jackpotted by Abbey Weitzeil of the LA Current.

Hinds’ 2020 ISL season bests on flatstarts were 51.12 in the 100 free, from her season opener, and 24.71 in the 50 free. She also swam the 100 fly in the semifinals, where she touched in 57.36.

Smoliga is expected to return for the Condors in this week’s match, which is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday against LA Current, DC Trident, and Aqua Centurions.

The 27-year old Hinds competed in her first Olympic Games earlier this summer where she won a bronze medal as a prelims and finals swimmer on the American women’s 400 free relay.

The Condors are also expecting partial-season participation from Emily Escobedo (who’s getting married), Nic Fink, and Caeleb Dressel. Dressel said on the SwimSwam Podcast last week that he wasn’t sure how many meets he would swim, but would react to how he felt.

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2 months ago

The rich get richer

2 months ago

Does ISL not realized that it makes it much less interesting that they stacked the teams from the beginning? Having 2 super teams (Cali and Energy) with the bottom half of teams standing no chance in competing isn’t good for a fledgling organization.

Reply to  Eyeballer
2 months ago

It’s also pretty obvious they allowed such a large number of swimmers to be retained before the draft so that the top 2 teams didn’t get dismantled.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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